Gǀui Dialect - Phonology - Vowels


Gǀui has five modal vowels, a e i o u, three nasal vowels, ã ẽ õ, and two pharyngeal vowels, aˤ oˤ. There are diphthongs o͜a and o͜aˤ, but they are allophones of o. Gǀui also has breathy-voice vowels, but they are described as part of the tone system.

Only the five modal vowels a e i o u occur in monomoraic (CV or V) roots, which except for the noun χò 'thing, place, case' are all grammatical morphemes. These are reduced to three nasal vowels ã ẽ õ after nasal consonants, including the glottalized nasal clicks.

The modal vowels and the pharyngeal vowels, aˤ oˤ/o͜aˤ, occur as the first vowel (V1) of bimoraic roots, CVCV, CVV, and CVN, though the modal vowels are reduced to a e i o͜a before a nasal coda, CVN. This o͜a corresponds to o in Gǁana. Pharyngeal oˤ and o͜aˤ are also in complementary distribution: oˤ in CVV words and o͜aˤ in CVCV and CVN words; some speakers use o͜aˤ in CVV roots too, so that their pharyngeal vowels are reduced to aˤ o͜aˤ.

The modal and nasal vowels (but not the pharyngeals) occur as the second vowel (V2) of bimoraic roots, CVCV or CVV, though only modal vowels may follow the medial consonants b ɾ, and only nasal vowels follow the medial consonants m n. Either oral or nasal vowels may follow j w or null (CVV roots). That is, medial m n may be seen as allophones of b ɾ.

The initial consonant (C1) may be any but n ɾ. The medial consonant (C2) may be b ɾ m n j w. N may be m n.

There are other vowel restrictions. V1 is always i in CVCV words when C1 is non-click palatal, for example. (This is because those sounds arose historically from alveolars followed by i, which are still found in Naro.) Uvular(ized) consonants cause vowel lowering. And so on.

Read more about this topic:  Gǀui Dialect, Phonology

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